News and Views - December 2017

A Christmas Message from AFBI's CEO

As we approach the Christmas Season, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all our customers and friends throughout the wider agri-food industry a very merry Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year. I am pleased to report that 2017 has been a very successful year for AFBI, as we continue to grow our wider income base, with over 40% of our total revenue now derived outside of our core “grant-in-aid” from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.

Read more

AFBI Research in Support of the Local Dairy Sector will be Highlighted at Winter Fair

The RUAS Winter Fair will be held on Thursday 14th December at Eikon Complex, Maze, Lisburn from 9am - 5pm. AFBI researchers will be on hand at Stand EK58 to highlight the current range of topical research projects and issues.

Read more

Caledon – Latest New Grass Variety From AFBI

AFBI will launch its latest new grass variety – Caledon at this year’s Winter Fair.  Caledon is an important new addition to AFBI’s impressive intermediate tetraploid perennial ryegrass portfolio, with a heading date of 29th May. Caledon was specifically bred for high spring growth, enhanced digestibility and good disease resistance.

Read more

Sheep Conference - Efficient Lamb Production held in conjunction with partners CAFRE, LMC, UFU and NSA

“Efficient Lamb Production” was the subject under the microscope at the AFBI/CAFRE/UFU/LMC and NSA conference at Greenmount recently. This year’s event focused on making sheep farming as profitable and efficient as possible through a number of different factors.

Read more

AVSPNI Meeting at AFBI Omagh in January

The Association of Veterinary Surgeons Practising in Northern Ireland (AVSPNI) will hold its annual meeting and AGM at the AFBI Veterinary Laboratory in Omagh on 10 January 2018. The laboratory has been hosting this event since 1975 and the event is a key date in the veterinary calendar, bringing together veterinary practitioners from across Northern Ireland and some from counties Monaghan and Cavan. This is the only local CPD event always attended by the president of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). It regularly attracts over 100 practitioners making it one of the most popular CPD events of the local veterinary calendar.

Vets wishing to attend this meeting should contact VetNI via

AFBI Staff "Mow it" all in aid of 'Friends of the Cancer Centre'!

AFBI staff recently held a Charity Fundraising Event in aid of Friends of the Cancer Centre.  Friends of the Cancer Centre Charity are based in the NI Cancer Centre at Belfast City Hospital and their work focusses on three key areas - patient care, patient comfort and research - and their work supports the services provided by the Health Service.The event raised almost £1500 with donations still being received.  Two staff joined in the charities "mow it" campaign and mowed off their beards.  Other events included a Staff Tea Party, Tombola, Cupcake, Craft and Sweet Sale as well as a Hamper raffle. 

More images from the day can be seen here

Meet the Scientist - Alan Gordon

I have worked as a statistician, first as a data analyst and latterly as a consultant, for Statistical Services Branch (formerly Biometrics) for over 27 years. My main body of work is proving a statistical consultancy and data analysis service to the Agriculture and Food Research Branches in Sustainable Agri-Food Sciences Division and to all branches in Veterinary Sciences Division. 

Read more


Between 1 Jan 2017 and 30 November 2017 there have been 295 calves born in the AFBI dairy herd at Hillsborough with an average birth weight of 39kg. The breakdown is 154 bulls (average Birth weight 40kg) and 141 heifers (average Birth weight 38kg) and there are approximately 30 more calves expected until the end of December, will there be any on Christmas Day? We will let you know ...

AFBI Job Vacancies

AFBI currently have three job vacancies which can be viewed on the Northern Ireland Civil Service Recruitment Website.  They include:

  • Veterinary Drug Residues Programme Manager - Senior Scientific Officer
  • Chemical Mass Spectrometry Programme Manager - Senior Scientific Officer
  • Principal Economist (Grade 7)

See here for more information on the vacancies